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Back to the Future, but with an LGBTQ twist. When Luis, an out and proud Cuban teen who just wants to go to prom with his boyfriend, is accidentally hit on the head, he finds himself in 1985. He knows something happened back then to Chaz Wilson, and he’s determined to stop it. But being queer in 1985 is VERY different from now. Can Luis navigate the 80s and find a way back to the 21st century? Spin Me Right Round adds a genre-bending time travel element to a funny and emotional YA contemporary. A must-read!
Welcome to In Reading Color, a space where we focus on literature by and about people of color.
Book friends, how has December been treating you so far? I was speaking to my friend about how it doesn’t really feel like Christmas is in a few days (maybe because it’s a little hotter than usual where I am?), but here we are. I can’t complain, though! Especially as I’m not in a tornado stricken area. If any of you are, I hope you’re safe and doing well!
If you’re in need of any serotonin boosting internet things, here’s a great example of why the internet was created. People on here are seriously talented. The sync up and timing are unbelievable. Side note: Adele bopping’ along to Meg’s verses sent me.
As for books, I’ve got some varied and interesting new releases for you that I think you’ll like:
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
This is an interesting look at Korea during the Japanese occupation. It follows the lives of an unfortunate girl whose parents sold her to a brothel, and the poor son of a hunter, showing how their fates are intertwined. Jade, now living in a brothel, befriends JungHo, who is the leader of a group of homeless orphaned boys. As she matures, she comes into her own as a celebrated courtesan and curries favor with a man of noble birth. Her and some of the other girls she grew up with fall in and out of love with men from different social standings, as this novel takes us through mid-century Korean life.
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
Rejoice! For Amanda Gorman has released her poetry collection debut! We all know Gorman from the presidential inauguration, but here we can get to know her more through poems that tackle our current social issues without giving way to despair. She covers everything from the effects of environmental neglect from past generations, to the consequences of devaluing Black lives, to social isolation. She even mixes up the structure of how some poems are presented as some appear as whales, text bubbles, and other shapes on the page.
People from My Neighborhood by Hiromi Kawakami, Translated by Ted Goossen
This is a collection of slice-of-life stories set in a small Japanese town with fabulist elements. The language is fittingly spare, managing a certain amount of unease as we’re taken through the town’s many oddities. There’s an elderly man who farms chickens and might go to chicken hell (lol), a bossy child who moves in with a woman that finds her under a white cloth, a schoolgirl who keeps doll brains in a drawer, and many other weird goings-on. The stories are odd and dark at times, but the collection overall still somehow manages to also be charming.
The Love Con by Seressia Glass
Here’s an excellent fake-dating trope for the holidays! Kenya — an anime, cosplaying, and gaming queen— enters into a cosplaying reality show competition. She’s made it to the last round, but hits a snag as it’s a couples challenge, and she’s… single as can be (it’s hard out here, sis!). She enlists the help of her bestie and roommate, Cam, who has secretly had a crush on here since forever. You know where this is going, and you know it’ll be fun to get there. Bonus points for a Black and fat main character who relishes in many nerdy fandoms. 💜
Tell Me How to Be by Neel Patel
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuka Matsukawa, Translated by Louise Heal Kawai
The Righteous by Renee Ahdieh
Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino
What have y’all been reading lately? I just finished Raybearer a few days ago (if you’re wondering, it was 🔥), had to stop myself from devouring all of Saga, Book Two, and am finishing up The Tradition. What have you been into?
Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at Audiobooks.com with a free trial!
A Little Sumn Extra
Anne Rice passed away over the weekend. I remember how much my mother loved her books, and how I grew up with her as a result.
Patricia Thang makes a good point on why retellings from marginalized groups are so important
Ever heard of Tijuana Bibles? They were basically smutty, funny underground comics in the U.S. that were circulated during the 1930s–50s.
Thanks for reading; it’s been cute! If you want to reach out and connect, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me @erica_eze_. You can find me on the Hey YA podcast with the fab Tirzah Price, as well as in the In The Club newsletter.
See you next week!